Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cable Fight Over

I mentioned the other day about the cat-fight going on between Cable TV of East Alabama (CTVEA), the local cable company, and WTVM, the local ABC affiliate. The cable company had sent out letters -- and posted on their Website (since removed) -- a request for their customers to contact WTVM and WXTX (the Fox affiliate) to protest the decision of WTVM (and apparently, WXTX) to charge a fee to rebroadcast their programming.

The spat ended with CTVEA deciding to "suck it up," keep the channels, and not pass along an additional fee to subscribers.

And it ended before I had a chance to weigh in.

But I'm not going to let that stop me.

You see, both sides are telling just part of the story ... and both are simply trying to get money in their pockets.

WTVM says that most viewers watch network TV on their cable channels. Maybe so. I don't. On network TV, either the Wife and I watch House, 24, Law & Order, while the Wife watches Guiding Light and As The Word Turns. And that's it for our network TV viewing. The rest of the stuff we watch is on cable-only channels. The Shield, Monk, Psych, The Closer, Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, The 1/2 Hour News Hour, Star Trek reruns, and such.

Of course, I realize we may not be the typical viewer.

They also seemed (to me anyway) to equate their programming to other cable channels, complaining that they don't get any money from my watching WTVM on CTVEA.

Well, it would be illegal for me to put up some contraption to watch FX, USA, or TNT for free. But it's perfectly legal for me to put up a contraption (an antenna) to watch WTVM for free. So, no, they're not the same thing.

Additionally, WTVM is preventing CTVEA from carrying ABC programming via WNCF-TV in Montgomery. Now, I don't know whether or not WNCF would charge a fee, but they are being carried on 38 cable systems in 20 counties. But not in Russell County.

That's because WTVM can tell cable operators "no." And they do.

Which means they're telling CTVEA, "you can't carry any ABC channel but us, and you have to pay us; so pay up or do without ABC programming."

But to be fair, it's not just WTVM. It's all the Columbus stations. None will let CTVEA carry programming outside Columbus. And after the current contract with the other channels run out -- the last one will expire some time in 2008, I understand -- they'll all probably start demanding a fee from the cable company.

They'll all be saying, "you can't carry any network channel but us, and you have to pay us; so pay up or do without network programming."

Oh, one last thing about WTVM's response. They closed with "... remember, WTVM is always available free of charge with an antenna."

Yeah, well, if I end up getting an antenna, there's a good chance I'll point it west, toward Montgomery, instead of east, toward Columbus. Just because they've pissed me off.

Okay, I probably won't. I like the local news and sports personalities. And I do watch them. But, if I went crazy and watched ABC (rather than local) programming, I'd turn the antenna west.

Now, having said that I don't care for WTVM's role in all this, I also don't care for CTVEA's role in this.

You see, the Columbus stations aren't the only ones not allowing competition around here. Roy Greene, who owns CTVEA, has lots of influence with the local government, and is keeping other companies out.

Now, to be fair, CTVEA has improved their lineup recently. And they have improved their services. And despite the occasional rude person in the office -- you know the type -- most are actually polite and trying to be helpful.

On the other hand, they did raise their rates earlier this year.

Like I said, both parties are just out for a buck.

Which is what people are in business for, to be honest.

I don't really fault WTVM for wanting a fee to carry their programming. I just don't like their preventing another option (Montgomery ABC channel).

And I don't fault CTVEA for not wanting to pay a fee ... or even for raising their rates. I just don't like their preventing another option (Knology, MediaCom, etc).

So, I'll continue to watch CTVEA programming. But I'll still be unhappy about it all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Catfish Come From Behind, Beat Charleston

Columbus Catfish logoIt took a 4-run 8th inning, but the Columbus Catfish managed to come from behind and beat the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) and stay on pace a game out of first place.

Three 2-out singles in the top of the first gave the Catfish the early 1-0 lead. 3B Cesar Suarez, C Nevin Ashley, and LF Ryan Royster all singled, with Royster's hit scoring Suarez.

Catfish starter Woods Fines was touched up for 5 runs in the bottom of the inning, putting the Catfish in an early hole.

2 runs in the top of the 3rd closed the gap. Ashley hit a 1-out solo homers to right center. With 2 outs, DH Maiko Loyola walked, then 1B Matt Fields doubled, sending Loyola across the plate.

Charleston got both runs back in the 4th inning. A lead-off homer accounted for the first run. Two singles and a double allowed Charleston another runs. Ashley took a throw from SS Jairo De La Rosa to tag out what would have been the 2rd run on the play. That saved run came in to play later.

In the 5th, the Catfish closed the gap to 7-4 in the 5th. Suarez led off with a double to left field. With 1 out, he stole third, then scored on Royster's double to right.

It remained 7-4 until the 8th inning. Loyola started things by drawing a walk. Fields singles on a ground ball to right, moving Loyola to third. 2B Brett Grandstrand reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Loyola, then took second when the throw to complete the double play went wild. After a pitching change, Grandstrand moved to third on a wild pitch. PH Quinn Stewart walked, then CF Desmond Jennings grounded out to third scoring Grandstrand. RF John Matulia doubled, driving in Stewart and tying the game. That was followed by a Suarez single that scored Matulia, and put the Catfish up 8-7.

Matt Falk entered the game in relief to start the 5th inning. He allowed 2 hits in 2 innings work. Neal Frontz pitched the next 2 innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 3, and got credit for the win. Ryan Owen pitched a perfect 9th to earn his 3rd save.

The win keeps the Catfish a game behind division-leading Augusta, who beat Greensboro, and a half-game behind Asheville, who won their game with Lexington.

Charleston 3B Mitch Hilligoss bunted his way on in the 7th, extending his hitting streak to 36 games, a new South Atlantic League record.

Suarez led Catfish batters going 3-for-5, scoring twice and driving in the winning run. His 5th inning double was his 17th, tops on the team. Ashley, Royster, and Fields each had 2 hits. Royster's 2 RBIs moved him into the team lead with 32 on the season.

Defensively, the Catfish managed to prevent 8 Charleston base runners from scoring after reaching scoring position.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Catfish Drop Game To Charleston

Columbus Catfish logoCharleston RiverDogs (Yankees) 3B Mitch Hilligoss tied the SAL consecutive game hit streak tonight as Charleston knocked the Columbus Catfish from the top of the South Division. Hilligoss hit a 2-run double in the 8th inning, his last at-bat, to keep the streak alive, and to contribute to Charleston's 9-1 win over the Catfish.

A 1st inning home run by Seth Fortenberry off Catfish starter Wade Townsend put Charleston up 1-0.

A single, 2 walks, 2 doubles, and an error put Charleston up 6-0 in the 3rd.

The Catfish finally put a run up in the 7th. 1B Seth Dhaenens reached on an error, but was erased when 2B Joey Callender hit a ground ball to third and reached on a fielder's choice. When SS Jairo De La Rosa doubled to left, Callender scored, and the Catfish were down 6-1.

Charleston made it 9-1 in the 8th, thanks to Hilligoss' record-tying hit, and a bases-loaded walk.

The Catfish were held to 5 hits on the night, and stranded 8 runners on base, 3 in scoring position.

Townsend has now dropped 3 decisions in a row, falling to 3-4. The loss drops the Catfish to 3rd place, a game behind Augusta, who beat Greensboro, and a half-game behind Asheville, who beat Lexington tonight.

The series with Charleston continues Wednesday night. The Catfish return to Columbus Saturday night to open an 8-game home stand.

Another Catfish Pitcher Named SAL Pitcher of the Week

Photo: Columbus Catfish

Another Columbus Catfish player has been recognized by Minor League Baseball. Catfish pitcher Heath Rollins was today named the South Atlantic League pitcher of the week.
Rollins celebrated his 22nd birthday in grand fashion last week, picking up two victories to give him the most wins (six) among undefeated pitchers in the South Atlantic League. The right-hander began his birthday celebration on Tuesday by giving up just one earned run on six hits and striking out five in the Catfish's 4-2 win over Charleston. In a 4-2 win over Savannah, Rollins allowed one unearned run and struck out five without giving up a walk. His minuscule 1.04 ERA is second in the league.

Wade Townsend was named SAL pitcher of the week back on April 22.

How Not To Bulk Email

I'll be following up later with a post about the cat-fight going on between the cable company that services my area and the local ABC affiliate.

But, in my inquiries of trying to obtain more information about it, the GM of the local channel (WTVM) committed a horrible error in judgement in the way he responded.

You see, he sent an email to 417 addresses.

That's not what's so bad. What's so bad is how he did it.

He put all 417 address in the "to" field of the email!

Now, you might be asking yourself why that's a bad thing.

Well, let me tell you why.

Let's suppose for a second that someone has a vulnerable computer. Let's call him Doofus.

Now, let's suppose that Doofus and 416 other people contact a businessman -- let's call him Lee -- about something.

Now, let's suppose that one of those other 416 people is ... you. We'll call that person You.

Lee gets a bunch of emails. From You. From Doofus. And from 415 others. And he decides to respond to them all with a single email. This is reasonable, since he's being bombarded with a bunch of emails all talking about the same thing.

So, anyway, Lee composes an email to send to everyone that emailed him.

And he includes all 417 email addresses -- including Doofus and You -- in the "to" field for the email.

Now, here's what happens. You, Doofus, and 415 others get an email. And all 417 of you can see the email addresses of the others. That in and of itself is bad form.

But it gets worse.

Remember that Doofus has a vulnerable computer. He either doesn't have good security software running on his computer. Or it's out of date. Or something. The bottom line is, Doofus' computer is vulnerable.

So vulnerable that he's got a computer that's infected with something nasty.

And that something nasty is a program that harvests email addresses.

That is to say, it's checking Doofus' incoming emails and harvesting addresses.

And because of Doofus, everyone else on that email is now part of the list of the harvesting program. And everyone is going to start getting a s**tload of spam.

Now, what should Lee have done?

He should have included the addresses in the "bcc" field.

That way, when the harvesting program that's running on Doofus' computer tries to harvest emails, it's not going to get anything new.

You see, it already had Doofus' email address. That's how Doofus got the malware to begin with.

It already had Lee's email address because it got it when Doofus emailed Lee to start with.

But it didn't get the other 416 email addresses.

So, bloggers, if you ever have the need or strong desire to send emails to a lot of people, be sure to use the "bcc" field and not the "to" field.

Using the "to" field can cause grief to the whole list if just one of the people to whom it's sent has harvesting malware.

Using the "bcc" field will at least show care and concern over those on your list. It's being a good email neighbor.

And it keeps you from becoming a Doofus, too.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part 3

Nothing major like the switch from Blogger to TypePad. Or from TypePad to WordPress.

Just an update to the WordPress.

And some behind the scenes re-work.

The net effect is that this little blog might look screwy for a little bit while software updates happen. Because I think I'm not going to simply upgrade, but to do a clean installation of WordPress software.

Network Solutions (the host) has added automatic WordPress installation to their hosting packages. The installation here was before they added that, and was the traditional upload and overwrite method of installation and update.

When we were at Dreamhost (yes, I still like them, and use them on another blog, by the way), I liked the automatic installation and update process they had. Now that Network Solutions has added that feature, I'm going to take advantage of it. And I'm going to do that by way of a "from scratch" installation.

We may be getting into "hey, y'all, watch this" territory, but hey, what the heck, huh? What could possibly go wrong?

Yeah, we'll see.

So, if anything looks different or screwy, that's why.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Catfish Win In 15

Columbus Catfish 3B Cesar Suarez belted his first home run of the season at a most opportune time. In the bottom of the 15th, after the lead runner had just been thrown out attempting to steal, Suarez sent the next pitch off the signage over the left field wall to give the Catfish a 3-2 win over the Savannah Sand Gnats. The win helped move the Catfish back into first place.

The Catfish had taken an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning. With 1 out, RF John Matulia singled on a ground ball to third base, then stole second, and moved to third when the throw to second went into the outfield. Cesar Suarez drove Matulia home with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Savannah took the lead in the 4th on two doubles, a sacrifice bunt, a single, and a ground out RBI.

The Catfish tied the game in the 7th. With 2 out, 2B Joey Callender doubled, then scored on a single by RF Maiko Loyola, tying the game at 2. The Catfish had an opportunity to take the lead, but the inning ended with runners on the corner.

Another wasted opportunity in the 8th had runners on second and third, but the Catfish were unable to score.

In the 12th, the Catfish had the bases loaded with 1 out, but were unable to convert.

Savannah threatened in the 13th. With 1 out, SS Juan Lagares doubled to left. With 2 outs, the Catfish tried to walk DH Hector Pellot, but he managed to connect on a toss too close to the strike zone. Lagares tried to score from second, but a dead-on throw by Matulia to C Nevin Ashley nailed him for out 3.

In the top of the 14th, the Catfish benefited from Rule 6.09 (e) when a ball hit down the right field line bounced into the bullpen, causing the Savannah runner to return to third base. He would have likely scored had the ball remained in play. The Catfish got out of the jam, setting up Suarez' winning shot in the bottom of the inning.

In the 14th, Matulia singled, then was thrown out trying to steal second. On the very next pitch, Suarez hit his first homers of the year above a leaping D. J. Wabick, who just hung his head as Suarez rounded the bases.

The Catfish managed 15 hits, but stranded 14 runners on base, 9 in scoring position. Matulia was 4-for-6 with a walk and a run scored. Suarez was 3-for-6, a triple shy of the cycle, with 2 RBIs, counting his game-winning shot.

Starter Josh Butler scattered 7 hits, struck out 3, and allowed both Savannah runs in a 7-inning no-decision. Ryan Morse pitched a perfect 8th. Columbus native -- and former Columbus High and Columbus State standout -- Brian Baker pitched 3 perfect innings, striking out 2. Matt Falk pitched the last three innings, and took the win, his second.

The win means the Catfish took 3 of 4 from Savannah, and remain in second place, a game behind Augusta are now tied with Augusta, who lost to Lexington tonight, for first place in the SAL South division, and a half-game ahead of Asheville, who beat Hickory tonight.

The Catfish open a 4-game road trip in Charleston Tuesday night. They'll be back home Saturday night against Rome.


During the time I wore my country's uniform, I was mostly in a situation where I was at home. That is, I got up in the morning and went to work.

Only, instead of driving to a factory or an office, I went to an Army post.

We'd occasionally deploy on a training exercise, but those really didn't last all that long. Most of the time, I was, in effect, stationed at home.

Most soldiers aren't so fortunate.

But, during the brief time away from home, we thought of those back home.

When set up in a Georgia swamp or woods, we thought of family back home.

When on the DMZ in Korea, we thought of family back home.

When in the California desert, training for future desert deployments, we thought of those back home.

When in the Sahara, on the border with Libya, we thought of those back home.

When in the Arabian Desert, on the border with Saddam's Iraq, we thought of those back home.

Because that's what soldiers do. Marines, airmen, and seamen, too. They think of those back home.

Today is Memorial Day.

It is not the day to think of those who are defending our country. Rather, it's a day to remember a special group of those that defended our country -- those that while defending our country, gave their lives for you, me, and everyone here in this great land of ours.

I know that they were thinking of you.

The least you can do is think of them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's Official

Yes, it's official.

The Little Princess is getting married.

No date has been set ... or at least shared with us ... but this weekend, LT asked the Little Princess to marry him. And she said "yes."

Last week, LT invited the Wife and me to dinner. We'd taken him to dinner on occasion, and he'd taken us to dinner on occasion. This was going to be another one of those occasions.

Or not.

When we got to Outback, we saw him sitting in the back.

After a bit, he told us something that he had on his mind. And that was the Little Princess.

He wanted to marry her and asked for our blessing.

I told him as long as he made her happy, he had our blessing and support.

This weekend, he went to Glynn County -- the Little Princess is taking courses in Brunswick this semester -- and asked her to marry him.

She said "yes."

I've said before that LT is a fine young man. And the Little Princess seems to think so, too. And that's what's important.

What I think really doesn't matter ... although I do think highly of him. What really matters is that she's happy.

And for that reason alone, LT will be a welcome member of the family.

Catfish Beat Savannah, Move Into Second Place

Despite having the worst record in the league, the Savannah Sand Gnats have managed to split the first 6 games with the Columbus Catfish this season. The back and forth continued today, with the Catfish coming from behind then holding on to beat Savannah 4-2.

Three Catfish errors in the 5th inning gave Savannah a 1-0 lead without having a hit in the inning.

In the 6th, the Catfish fought back and took the lead. RF Maiko Loyola walked, moved to second on a single by Cesar Suarez (3B), then to third on a fly ball out. After Savannah changed pitchers, Ryan Royster drove in Loyola on a sacrifice fly to deep short. 2B Brett Grandstrand singled, scoring Cesar Suarez, then stole second, and moved to third on an error. 1B Matt Fields singled to left, scoring Grandstrand, and putting the Catfish up 3-1.

In the 7th, Savannah put another run on the board, closing the gap to 3-2.

After the stretch, the Catfish got the run back. SS Jairo De La Rosa bunted his way on to first, then moved to second on a passed ball. Desmond Jennings (CF) sacrificed him to third. Loyola singled to center, driving home De La Rosa, and putting the Catfish up 4-2.

Heath Rollins allowed 1 unearned run on just one hit, striking out 5 and not walking anyone, in running his record to 6-0 (1.04 ERA). Ryan Reid pitched 2 innings, allowing a run on 2 hits, striking out a pair and walking one. Neal Frontz pitched the 9th, hit the leadoff batter, but set down the next three to pick up his 7th save.

At the plate, the Catfish scratched out 8 hits, with Loyola the only batter to get more than 1 hit. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

The win puts the Catfish in 2nd place, a game behind Augusta, who beat Lexington this afternoon. Asheville dropped their game to Hickory, allowing the Catfish to move into 2nd place, a half-game ahead of the Tourists.

The series with Savannah concludes Monday afternoon, with the Catfish holding a 2-1 lead in this series, and a 4-3 season series lead.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Catfish Fall To Savannah, Drop To Third Place

The Columbus Catfish fell behind early and never caught up, dropping tonight's game to the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets) by a score of 4-3.

A walk, two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly put Savannah up 3-0 in the first inning.

The Catfish closed the gap to 3-2 in the 3rd. With 1 out, 2B Joey Callender reached on an error, then moved to second on a single by Jairo De La Rosa (SS). With 2 outs, RF John Matulia doubled, scoring Callender and De La Rosa.

Savannah added another run in the 4th, making it 4-2.

It stayed that way until the 9th inning, when 1B Seth Dhaenens walked, moved to second on a single by Callender. With 2 outs, Matulia singled to center, scoring Dhaenens and making it 4-3. However, the Catfish were unable to bring anyone else home, and that was the final score.

The Catfish had plenty of opportunities to score during the game, putting runners on base in 8 of 9 innings, but they stranded 9 base runners, 6 in scoring position. They also had 2 runners thrown out trying to steal.

Matulia led the Catfish offense, driving in all 3 runs. He was 4-for-5 with a double. LF Ryan Royster was 3-for-4, while Dhaenens was 2-for-3 with a runs scored.

Jeremy Hellickson allowed 4 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings on the mound, striking out 1 and walking 1. He also hit a batter. The loss was his first, and bumped his ERA from 1.80 to 2.79. The Catfish bullpen was effective. Wilton Noel went 3 innings, allowing 3 hits, striking out 3. Ryan Owen pitched 2 innings, didn't allow a hit, and struck out 2.

The loss, coupled with wins by Augusta and Asheville, dropped the Catfish from first to third place. Their record stands at 32-17 (.653), and are a game out of first place.

The series with Savannah continues Sunday afternoon.

Oh, by the way, it was a celebration of John Wayne's 100th birthday at the Catfish game tonight. Most of the between-inning events were modified to a western theme, and they had movie giveaways. The Wife won a John Wayne movie, The High and the Mighty. She said she's never seen it. That'll change soon, I'm sure.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Catfish Beat Savannah, Move Into First Place

On Pirate Night -- celebrating the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie -- the Columbus Catfish scored a long-sought treasure: first place in the division.

Woods Fines pitched 6 innings of 4-hit ball, striking out 4 along the way, to lead the Catfish to a 2-0 win over the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets).

Leadoff batter Desmond Jennings (DH) was hit by a pitch, then moved to second when John Matulia (RF) single right. Both stole a base, then Jennings scored on a ground out by Cesar Suarez (3b). With 2 outs, Quinn Stewart (LF) doubled to center, sending Matulia home.

That was it for the scoring. The Catfish managed to put runners on base in every inning, but couldn't muster another run. 10 men were stranded, 4 in scoring position.

Savannah threatened in the 2nd, putting a runner on third with 1 out, but the Fines got out of the jam. In the 5th, Savannah had runners on the corners with no one out, but an attempt to score on what looked like a sacrifice fly to center turned into a double play when CF Maiko Loyola threw a perfect throw to C Nevin Ashley, nailing Francisco Pena (C) who tried to score from third.

A Savannah 1-out triple in the 8th was wasted when reliever Brian Baker got a strike out, then coaxed a ground ball for the 3rd out.

Another threat in the 9th was squelched. A walk and 2 singles loaded the bases with 1 out, but closer Ryan Reid struck out the side, preserving the shutout and and picking up his 5th save. Fines improved to 4-2 on the season, lowering his ERA to 3.04.

The win, coupled with Asheville's 10-4 loss to Hickory and Augusta's 10-4 loss to Lexington, puts the Catfish in 1st place in the South Division of the South Atlantic League. The Catfish are 32-16 (.667), tied with Augusta for 1st place, a half game ahead of Asheville.

The Catfish and Savannah play again Saturday night in game 2 of the 4-game series.

Countin' Chickens

Columbus Catfish logoThere's the old saying, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."

Good advice.

Which I'm about to ignore.

It's no secret that I like baseball. And that I follow and support the local minor league team, the Columbus Catfish.

So, for that reason alone, I'm ignoring the good advice and am going to say right now that I expect the Catfish to win the first half.

Minor league baseball fans will be aware ... but others might not ... that most minor league schedules call for a split season. That is, they play half the schedule, and whoever's in first place is awarded the first half championship, and have a spot in the playoffs.

The league then wipes the slate clean, and they start over, playing the second half. Whoever has the best record in the second half wins the second half championship, and a spot in the playoffs.

If a team wins both halves, then the team with the next-best record over the season takes the second playoff spot.

The first half winners plays the second half winner, to advance to the league championship series.

Leagues with other than two divisions do it a little differently, but that's essentially how it's done in most minor leagues.

So, understanding that, I'm saying the Catfish will win their division in the first half.

There are 23 games left to play, and they are in 3rd place.

So what makes me think they'll win the first half?

I can read a schedule. And do math.

A Long Time Ago, In A Mailbox Far, Far Away...

I read about the new Star Wars stamps the other day.

Apparently, I missed something.

Seems that it's not just stamps that are taking on a Star Wars look.

They've got mailboxes that look like R2D2.

I wasn't expecting that. Then, I saw one.

Now I know why the cost of postage stamps had to go up. I wonder how much George Lucas is making on all this?

Catfish Fail To Sweep RiverDogs

Poised for a sweep of the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), the Columbus Catfish were denied by excellent pitching and timely hitting. Ivan Nova held the Catfish to just 2 hits in 6 innings, leading Charleston to a 3-2 win over the Catfish.

Charleston 3B Mitchell Hilligoss singled home 2B Wilmer Pino, then scored himself on a single by CF Austin Jackson, to put Charleston up 2-0 in the 5th inning. The hit by Hilligoss extended his hitting streak to 30 games, longest current streak in pro baseball. Charleston added a run in the 7th to take a 3-0 lead.

The Catfish didn't go quietly, though. PH Maiko Loyola doubled to lead off the 8th, moved to second on a single by 2B Joey Callender, and scored when CF Desmond Jennings grounded into a double play.

In the 9th, C Nevin Ashley hit a monster blast into the tops of the trees behind the left field wall, closing the gap to 3-2. It was as close as the Catfish would get, though.

Wade Townsend allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 5 innings work. The loss drops his record to 3-3. Ryan Morse allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 4 innings. The Catfish stranded 8 Charleston runners on base. 2 others were picked off or caught stealing. The Catfish defense also turned a pair of double plays, keeping the game in reach.

With the loss, the Catfish missed a chance to pull into first place in the South Division of the South Atlantic League. Division leader Augusta fell to West Virginia, leaving them a game ahead of the Catfish. Asheville beat Greensboro to move into 2nd place, a half game behind Augusta and a half game ahead of the Catfish.

The loss was just the 4th of the year to Charleston. The Catfish hold an 8-4 edge in play against the South Carolina team this season.

Tonight, the Catfish open a series with the last-place Savannah Sand Gnats. They split 4 games in Savannah earlier this month.

The first fireworks show of the year is also tonight. And it's Pirate night. I'm not sure if I'm going to dress as a pirate for tonight's game, although fans are asked to do just that. Something about a new pirate movie coming out. Anybody heard anything about that? ):

Should be fun watching the Catfish take on my old team. I'll be there, with or without pirate garb. Arrgh!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Grand Slam In 10th Gives Catfish Win

LF Ryan Royster drove in all 7 runs for the Columbus Catfish, including 4 on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, to propel the Catfish to a 7-4 win over the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) tonight.

Down 1-0 going into the 4th inning, the Catfish took the lead when Royster hit a bases-loaded double that drove in 3 runs. CF Desmond Jennings doubled to start the frame. He moved to third on an infield single by 2B Joey Callender, but was thrown out at home on a ground ball to third base. With 1 out, DH Nevin Ashley singled to load the bases and set the stage for Royster's 3-run double. It could have been worse, but Royster was thrown out at home when he was sent home on a single by RF Quinn Stewart.

A Charleston home run in the 5th narrowed it to 3-2, then a 9th inning homer tied the game, handing starting P Josh Butler a no-decision. He had allowed 2 runs on 7 hits, and was in line to pick up his 4th win before Charleston sent the game to extra innings.

In the 10th, SS Jairo De La Rosa walked, as did Jennings. After Charleston changed pitchers, Callender sacrificed both runners over. 3B Cesar Suarez was intentionally walked to set up a potential double play. Ashley reached on a fielder's choice when De La Rosa was thrown out at home by Charleston 3B Mitch Hilligoss. Royster then ended the game on his grand slam to left field.

Hilligoss extended his pro baseball-leading hitting streak to 29 games in a losing cause for the visitors.

Jennings was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate for the Catfish, reaching base 5 times on 3 singles, a double, and a walk.

Reliever Neal Frontz was unable to pick up his 7th save, instead being charged with his 4th blown save, but picked up the win, his 2nd, after Royster's winning shot.

The Catfish can record their first sweep of Charleston with a win tomorrow night. They are in 2nd place in the SAL South Division, a game behind Augusta, who lost to West Virginia tonight.

Another Stain On My Tie

I mentioned the other day that I had disproved the Wife wrong about me spilling something on myself every time I wore a white shirt. But now I'm thinking she was almost right.

Well, I stopped by Subway for breakfast this morning.

I got a sandwich with sausage, egg, and cheese.

You know what? The cheese melts.

And will drip.

And will drip onto your shirt. Or tie.

After being at work a couple of hours, I happened to notice the stain.

So, I had the choice of going without a tie ... or wearing the tie and let everyone know what a dumbass I am.

I went with the dumbass option.

Because it gets fewer questions.

Since I always wear a tie (they're not required where I work), I get questioned when I don't.

But wearing breakfast? It seems they've come to expect it from me.

And, when the Wife sees it, she's going to say that she was right about the white shirts, after all. She'll just say that I've added gray shirts to my list of stain magnets.

Thank You, Jo

There's no such thing as a fun visit to the dentist. But after losing a crown last week, I had to visit the dentist.

Now, I wasn't exactly happy with the dentist I had been using. And, under the new insurance I have, he's not a preferred service provider. I won't even address all that hassle, but it seemed like as good a time as any to change.

And, what do you know, Jo (from Jo's Cafe) recommended her dentist. I looked him up, and he was on the list. So I made an appointment.

Now, like I said, there's no such thing as a fun visit to the dentist. I mean, at a minimum, you're going to have people poking around inside your mouth, likely using metal implements.

And that's if there's nothing more than an exam.

I had more than an exam.

I had a crown in my pocket. It belonged in my mouth. And they were willing to accommodate me.

I actually liked the visit. The staff was polite, and I really liked the dentist.

He replaced the crown, then he and the staff handled the hard part: making it fit properly. Lots of drilling, sanding, flossing, and such.

Despite no drugs, there wasn't a lot of pain. Some discomfort, sure. Enough that I didn't go to the ballgame last night.

But, all things considered, I now have a dentist that I like. I even scheduled a cleaning on my own. No prompting from the Wife or anything.

Thanks again, Jo, for putting me in touch with someone who make an unpleasant experience more than bearable. They made it no so bad.

I owe you one.

Catfish Beat Charleston, Move Into Second Place

Columbus Catfish logoIf the Columbus Catfish were in the North Division of the South Atlantic League, they'd be in first place. As it is, they're in second place in the South Division, following Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees).

Charleston jumped to an early lead when 3B Mitch Hilligoss scored on a 1st inning error. He had reached base when he extended his hitting streak to 28 games, the current best in all of minor league baseball.

The Catfish took the lead in the 4th when 1B Matt Fields hit his team-leading 7th homer, a 2-run shot that also scored RF Quinn Stewart, who had singled.

Charleston tied the game in the 5th when Hilligoss scored another run. The Catfish re-took the lead in the bottom of the 5th. LF Ryan Royster doubled, scoring 2B Joey Callender.

In the 6th, SS Jairo De La Rosa hits his first home run of the year to make it 4-2.

3B Cesar Suarez brought his batting average up 17 points with a 4-for-4 performance. Heath Rollins won his 5th game, pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs -- 1 earned -- on 6 hits, striking out 6. Ryan Owen pitched the last three innings, allowing just 2 base runners -- 1 on a walk and 1 on a fielder's choice -- to pick up his 2nd save.

The win, coupled with Asheville's 5th straight loss, puts the Catfish in 2nd place, 2 games behind division-leading Augusta.

The series with Charleston continues Wednesday night.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Worst?

So Jimmy Carter called the Bush administration "the worst in history"???

Jimmy Carter?

Heck, I remember when he was a bad governor. And when he was a bad president.

But the man from Plains has decided that George W. Bush's foreign policy is bad. So bad, that it's the worst in history.


Jimmy Carter and foreign policy?

You know, I can think of 444 reasons why Jimmy Carter isn't the best one to talk about foreign policy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Alternate Ending To 24, Version 3

Like we said before, not everyone was happy with the ending of this season of 24.

Some people wanted a major twist. Others wanted something new and different.

What they got was closure to just about every storyline. It was sort of a cross between "Jack disappears" (Season 4 ending) and the "Jack breaks down" (Season 3 ending).

So no big surprises ... and nothing really new.

So, we offered an alternate ending.

Only, it seems that's been done.

So, we offered another version.

Turns out that's been done, too.

So, let's try one last time. Here it is ...

Alternate Ending To 24, Version 3

Alternate Ending To 24, Version 2

As we mentioned earlier, not everyone was happy with the ending of this season of 24. Some expected some major surprise. Some expected something new.

Instead, they got closure to almost every storyline. And a cross between the previously-done of "Jack disappears" and the previously-done "Jack breaks down."

Basically, no big surprises ... and something that's been done before.

So, we offered an alternate ending.

Only, it seems that's been done.

So, let's try again. We now present ...

Alternate Ending To 24, Version 2

Alternate Ending To 24

Some people didn't like the way Season 6 of 24 ended.

Some wanted a more bang-up ending. Some wanted or expected a major surprise.

Instead, viewers got closure of just about every storyline. The only thing left unresolved was: what's Jack to do next? Go into hiding? Jump off the cliff? Eat a bullet? What?

They did the whole "Jack disappears" thing before, remember? He "died" at the end of Season 4 to escape the Chinese, but was brought out of hiding with the David Palmer killing.

They did the whole "Jack nearly breaks down" thing too. Remember when he was sitting in the SUV at the end of Season 3?

So fans expected something new and different from the writers of 24.

Instead, they gave us closure.


For those that hated the ending to Season 6 of 24, we now present ....

Alternate Ending to 24

Catfish Open Home Stand With Win

In the next 20 games they play, the Columbus Catfish are facing the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) 12 times. And the first of the games went to the good guys. The Catfish beat Charleston, 6-3.

Grant Duff, who leads Charleston in wins, now leads the team in losses. The Catfish touched him for 2 runs in the first. DH John Matulia and 3B Cesar Suarez both reached on singles, then C Nevin Ashley walked to lead the bases. LF Ryan Royster then singled, scoring Matulia and Suarez, putting the Catfish up 2-0.

A walk mixed in with 3 singles allowed Charleston to tie the game in the 4th.

The Catfish regained the lead in the 5th. CF Desmond Jennings singled to start the inning. With 2 outs, Ashley singled, scoring Jennings from second. Duff was pulled from the game, then LF Quinn Stewart welcomed Brady Martinez by hitting his 5th homer of the year, making it 5-2.

Each team put up a run in the 7th. The Catfish welcomed reliever Ferdin Tejeda with a single by Jennings. A wild pitch allowed Jennings to move to second. With 2 outs, Ashley doubled, plating Jennings, and making it 6-3.

Jennings and Ashley were the only Catfish to have multiple hits.

Jeremy Hellickson pitched 5 innings of 5-hit ball, allowing 2 runs and striking out 4, and picking up his 2nd win. Ryan Morse pitched the 6th, allowing just a walk. Columbus native Brian Baker pitched 2 innings, allowing a run on 2 hits. Ryan Reid pitched a perfect 9th to garner his 4th save.

Not Me In Fact ... But In Spirit

This isn't my vehicle. Either one of them.

But I understand the blue Toyota very well.

If the picture's not clear enough to show what's happened, here's the deal.

The silver car looks like it pulled into a parking space. And into the next parking space.

Then Blue pulled in ... and nosed as closely as he could to Silver.

I'd have liked it if he'd have eased up ... touched bumpers ... then, ever so slightly, gently pushed the other vehicle back just a bit. Then, when Silver started the car and took it out of park, the car would rock back slightly.

I run into idiots like Silver all the time. And it really ticks me off. One parking space is plenty for anyone. But some people just don't like playing nicely.

If people can't drive ... and park correctly ... they need to stay home ... or ride the bus.

Asses that can't drive ... or park ... like Silver ... really tick me off. I just wish I had the guts of Blue.

Tick ... Tick ... Pause

Tonight, the Columbus Catfish open an 8-game home stand.

Tonight, 24 airs its season finale.

I'm going to the Catfish game. TiVo will watch 24 for me.

You see, I like baseball. A lot.

Oh, I like 24, too.

But I don't know how the baseball game will end.

Not that I know how 24 will end. But there are rumors.


Biscuits Beat Birmingham Again

Montgomery BiscuitsI didn't make it over to the Biscuits game Sunday. I wish I had.

It was another outstanding pitching performance from the Biscuits staff.
A day after Chris Mason allowed two runs over seven innings, James Houser, Jr., pitched five shutout frames to send the Montgomery Biscuits (24-20) to a 5-1 victory over visiting Birmingham (19-25).

The win clinched the series for Montgomery, which has won its last four series after losing four in a row.

Houser (3-0) was reached only for Chris Kelly's single in the second and Jeremy West's leadoff double in the fourth. In the process, he lowered his ERA to 2.48 and brought the Biscuits four games above .500 for the first time since the squad was 4-0 at the start of the season.

Since coming off the disabled list on May 15, the Florida native has given up only four hits in 11 1/3 scoreless innings. He has not lost a decision since May 12, 2006, a span of 25 starts.

The Biscuits conclude the series with Birmingham tonight. I'll be at the Catfish game, of course. The Catfish open an 8-game home stand tonight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Of Course It's My Fault

Saw the Simpsons. The one where Kent Brockman (the TV anchor) was fired for saying something naughty on the air.

And, according to the plotline, who was to blame?

Conservatives, of course.

After all, the current big thing is to fire or suspend on-air personalities that say "bad things." And who has been leading the charge in real life?

Conservatives, of course.

Oh, wait a second.

Don Imus ... and a slew of others that aren't quite as well know ... lose their jobs for things they say. And the left gets all up in arms and has them fired. And when the Simpsons has their "media police" episode, it's Ned Flanders, the religious guy, who has the media guy fired?

I'm starting to wonder if real life is actually a sitcom.

If so, I expect cancellation any day now.

Catfish Split With Savannah

Columbus Catfish logoNeeding a win to earn a split with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Nationals), the Columbus Catfish used what's been their downfall in this series: the big inning.

The Catfish used a 5-run 7th inning to come from behind and beat Savannah, 8-5.
John Matulia's two-run triple capped a five-run seventh inning as visiting Columbus defeated Savanah, 8-5, on Saturday.

Matulia had two hits, including his South Atlantic League-leading fifth triple that snapped a 5-5 tie. He scored an insurance run on Cesar Suarez's sacrifice fly.

Desmond Jennings had three hits, an RBI and a run scored, while Quinn Stewart doubled, tripled, scored a run and knocked in another for the Catfish (28-15).

Chris Kelly (1-0) fanned two and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings before Neal Frontz got the final six outs to earn his sixth save. Columbus starter Woods Fines allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk with one strikeout in five innings.

The Catfish are off today, and return home for an 8-game home stand, starting Monday night.

Biscuits Beat Birmingham

My first Biscuits game in a couple of weeks was fun. The Wife and I went to Montgomery to catch some baseball, some ballpark food, and some fireworks. We ended up with 1 of 3. But that weren't bad.

My inability to read a schedule meant we missed the fireworks by a night. We'll have to catch some later.

We missed out on the ballpark food, and we both regretted it ... and were thankful for it. We ate earlier in the day, and decided not to push it.

The one thing in the plans that went off as planned was the ballgame itself. And it was fun, especially since the Biscuits beat the Birmingham Barons (White Sox) 6-2.

As it turned out, the most impressive performance of the evening ... offensively at least ... was by Birmingham's Cory Aldridge, who had 3 of the Barons' 4 hits ... including 2 homers.

This isn't to say the Biscuits were slack at the plate. No, not at all.

The7 managed 2 runs in the 1st inning. With 1 out, LF Brooks Badeaux doubled, and moved to third on a ground out. After 3B Evan Longoria walked, putting runners on the corner, C John Jaso doubled to right, scoring Badeaux and Longoria.

Aldridge hit his first solo home run of the night in the 2nd inning, making it 2-1 Biscuits.

In the 2nd inning, with 2 outs, CF Jason Pridie singled and moved to second on a balk. Badeaux singled to center, scoring Pridie.

In the 6th, DH Patrick Breen singled, then 2B Josh Asanovich walked. Jason Pridie doubled, scoring Breen and Asanovich, and moved to third on a throw to the plate. Pride then scored on a sac fly by Badeaux, putting the Biscuits up 6-1.

Aldridge's second solo homer of the night, this one in the 7th, made it 6-2.

Aldridge's performance was all the more impressive when you consider that only one other Birmingham player managed a hit. Starter Chris Mason was masterful in his performance. And had a small fan club present.

A couple of blondes were showing their ... support ... for Mason. Her blonde hair is almost as white as Mason's.

He's easy to spot on the mound, just by his hair. Of course, his pitching performance is another clue to when he's on the mound. He's been a tremendous asset for the Biscuits this year. He'll be missed when he makes the jump to Triple-A, whenever that happens.

But those weren't the only one's who caught anyone's eye.

The Wife noticed a fan who came in late and had her hair done in a familiar style.

I didn't say anything, but the Wife noticed. Of course, once you saw her from the front, there was no doubt who it wasn't.

But then again, I didn't need her to turn around to know who it wasn't.

After all, the ex- doesn't go to ballgames.

There was another person at the game that I don't particularly like running into.

And he caused a delay in the game.

He ran out onto the field between innings, and the umpires had to delay the start of the next inning while they waited on him to be escorted from the field.

It was my nemesis ... Spongebob Squarepants.

Yes, it appears they'll let anybody into a ballgame in Montgomery.

All in all though, a fun night at the ballpark. I'm going to try to talk the Wife to going to the game this afternoon, but I suspect that's a no-go.

Oh, well.

Anyway, the Catfish will be back in town Monday night for 8 games in 8 days.

It's good to get back into the swing of going to ballgames.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Catching up on the Biscuits

Montgomery BiscuitsI haven't caught up on the Biscuits since my last visit to Montgomery two weeks ago.

In that time frame, they've played 13 games, and won 8 of them.

Back on the 6th, they took the rubber game of the series with Mississippi, beating the Braves 9-6.
Evan Longoria went 4-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season, helping the Montgomery Biscuits (15-15) earn a series win over the first place Mississippi Braves (20-10) with a 9-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Riverwalk Stadium.

The next day, they opened a series at home against the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs). In the opener, the Biscuits won a nail-biter.
Chris Seddon brought a shutout into the ninth inning and Dale Thayer struck out Matt Craig with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, saving a tense 2-1 victory for the host Montgomery Biscuits (16-15) over the Tennessee Smokies (15-14) in the first game of a five-game series.

The win was the fourth in a row for Montgomery, thriving since a four-game losing streak brought the team to its worst record since 2005.

The next game wasn't nearly as close, with the Biscuits winning 12-1.
Chris Nowak and John Jaso keyed a five-run fifth inning with back-to-back two-run doubles, leading the Montgomery Biscuits (17-15) to a 12-1 rout over the Tennessee Smokies (15-15) before a crowd of 7,115 at the final Grand Slam School Day of the season at Riverwalk Stadium.

The Biscuits have now won a season-high five in a row following a season-high four-game losing streak.

Every member of the Montgomery lineup scored a run in the rout. More impressively, for the second straight day Biscuits pitching limited the Southern League's top hitting team to just a lone run.

Tennessee bounced back and blanked the Biscuits on May 9, by a 9-0 score.
The loss ended the Biscuits' five-game winning streak, though one streak for the home team did indeed continue. Third baseman Evan Longoria reached on an infield single in the ninth, setting a new Biscuits team record with his 26th game reaching base.

That was the extent of the highlights that the Biscuits could glean from the third game in the five-game series. Montgomery committed four errors (two by Longoria) and watched its best pitcher, Chris Mason, suffer through his poorest showing of the year.

A 2-out error in the bottom of the 9th allowed the Biscuits to beat Tennessee on May 10, 4-3.
Jason Pridie and Evan Longoria each homered in the game for the Biscuits. For Longoria, it was his seventh home run of the season and extended his team-record on-base streak to 28 consecutive games.

Pridie's blast, a solo shot off Tennessee reliever James Henderson to right field that carried completely out of the stadium, tied the score at 3 in the bottom of the eighth.

After Montgomery closer Dale Thayer (2-0) worked a scoreless top of the ninth, the Biscuits mounted the winning rally against Henderson (2-1) in the bottom of the frame.

The series with Tennessee ended on a down note, with the Biscuits being shut out 3-0.
Montgomery starter Jon Barratt (0-1) allowed hits to the first three batters he faced in the game, the last a Jake Fox RBI double that put the visitors on the scoreboard. Barratt then walked Matt Craig to load the bases with none out, but retired the side on a flyout and a double play ground ball to escape the frame without any more damage.

That was all the offense that Tennessee would get off of the Biscuits southpaw, who gave up only one more hit and no more runs during the next five innings.

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx hosted the Biscuits for 5 games starting on the 12th, and took game 1 of the series.
The Diamond Jaxx got to Montgomery starter Chris Seddon (3-2) in the fourth, as Chris Minaker and Prentice Redman began the inning with hits and scored on a groundout and a sacrifice fly. When Seddon departed after the sixth, he was on the hook for the loss, having allowed five hits and two walks.

The Biscuits took Seddon off the hook in the eighth against the Jaxx's bullpen. Juan Sandoval gave up a single to Jason Pridie before leaving the baserunner for Craig James. Pridie scored on a Reid Brignac sacrifice fly. Greg Norton walked, setting up Longoria's home run. It was his eighth. He also doubled in the game, extending his on-base streak to 30 games.

The Biscuits bounced back on the 13th, winning an 11-8 slugfest.
Every Biscuits starter but one had at least two hits. Jason Pridie and Brooks Badeaux had three apiece.

Aside from the offense's consistent hitting, the Biscuits' bullpen was to credit for the win. The relievers threw 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief before allowing two meaningless runs in the ninth.

The Biscuits hits double-digits on the scoreboard the next day, taking a 12-4 decision.
Evan Longoria started off the scoring for the Biscuits in the first inning with a three-run homer. It was his third straight game in which he homered. He also singled twice and walked, marking his 32nd consecutive game reaching base.

From there, the gap only widened. Brooks Badeaux cleared the bases with a double in the fourth inning and Longoria plated him with a groundout. That made 10 RBIs in the series for Longoria, who now leads the league in home runs and RBIs. That inning spelled the end for West Tenn starter Robert Rohrbaugh (3-4), who lost his second game to the Biscuits by allowing eight hits and seven runs.

The Biscuits won their 3rd in a row on the 15th, blanking West Tenn, 4-0.
James Houser and two relievers threw a two-hit shutout and set down 20 in a row as the Montgomery Biscuits (21-18) won their third straight over the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (17-21), 4-0, at Pringles Park Tuesday night.

Houser, who had missed three straight starts with a strained olique muscle, allowed a hit in the first inning, another in the second and a walk in the third, then set down the last 12 he faced. The 22-year-old struck out seven in his 6 1/3-inning start, moving to 2-0. He has won each of his last 13 starts, dating back to last May.

The series ended as it began, with West Tenn taking the contest, this time by a 2-0 score.
West Tenn starting pitcher Joe Woerman (1-1) handcuffed the Biscuits through seven innings, walking four, striking out five and serving up only a double each by Jason Pridie and John Jaso to earn the victory.

Mumba Rivera and Craig James held off Montgomery in the eighth and ninth innings, with James recording the final two outs with the tying runs on base to pick up his sixth save of the season.

On the 17th, the Biscuits returned to Montgomery to host the Birmingham Barons. Game one went to the Biscuits, 7-4.
Facing a full count with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Brooks Badeaux ripped a tie-breaking three-run double into the left field corner to lift the Montgomery Biscuits (22-19) to a 7-4 victory over the Birmingham Barons (18-23) in the opener of a five-game series at Riverwalk Stadium.

The second game, Friday night, went to Birmingham, 5-2.
After Cory Aldridge drew a one-out walk from Mike Prochaska (1-4) in the top of the second, Biscuits shortstop Reid Brignac booted Lucy's potential inning-ending double play ball grounder. Catcher John Jaso's passed ball sent both runners into scoring position. They each scored on an miscue by second baseman Josh Asanovich, giving Birmingham a 2-0 lead.

That sets the stage for tonight's game. And I'll be there. The Wife and I are heading to Montgomery to catch the game, and watch the fireworks. It'll be fun.

Catfish Drop Two In Savannah

Columbus Catfish logoThe cooling off of the Columbus Catfish continued Friday. After winning the first game of the series in Savannah, then suffering a rain-out on Thursday, Friday meant two 7-inning games. And both games went to Savannah.

In game 1, a 2-run 5th was all the Sand Gnats needed to beat the Catfish, 2-1.
Juan Lagares' two-run homer spoiled a complete game by Wade Townsend and lifted Savannah to a 2-1 victory over visiting Columbus in the first game of Friday's twinbill.

Lagares' one-out blast to left field in the fifth inning was only the third hit given up by Townsend (3-2), who had faced the minimum through 4 1/3 frames.

A former first-round draft pick who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Townsend allowed four hits over six frames and fanned nine without walking a batter. The complete game was the first of his professional career.

The second game was again decided in a single inning. Savannah scored 4 in the 3rd, en route to a 4-1 win over the Catfish.
Josh Thole's two-run single highlighted a four-run third inning as Savannah beat Columbus, 4-1, to sweep Friday's doubleheader at Grayson Stadium.

Thole lashed a single to left field, scoring Hector Pellot and Joe Holden. Thole came around to score on D. J. Wabick's base hit to give the Sand Gnats (12-29) a 4-1. Holden went 2-for-3 with a stolen base.

Savannah's Greg Mullens (3-1) won for the second time in his last three starts, allowing one run on six hits while walking two and fanning three in five innings. Emary Frederick struck out two of the last three batters of the game for his second save.

The series concludes tonight with the Catfish needed a win to salvage a split of the series. They have not lost a series this season.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I Told Her So

Stain on my tieThe Wife says that every time I wear a white shirt, I always spill something on it.

I say it's not so.

And today, I have proof.

I wore a gray shirt and a black tie (with white stripes).

And I spilled something on it at lunch. Ketchup. From the fries that came with my 3-cheese bacon burger I ordered.

So, now I've shown that wearing a white shirt has nothing whatsoever to do with spilling food on myself.

I feel better now that I've proved my point. Or would, if I didn't have a ketchup stain on my silk tie.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Catfish Bounce Back, Beat Savannah

Columbus Catfish logoAfter getting their winning streak snapped in the series finale with Rome, the Columbus Catfish bounced back with a 5-2 win over the Savannah Sand Gnats (Nationals) Wednesday night.
Lewis Rollins struck out nine over six scoreless innings as visiting Columbus beat Savannah, 5-2, on Wednesday night.

Rollins held the Sand Gnats (10-29) to a pair of first-inning singles and did not allow an earned run for the sixth straight start.

The 21-year-old right-hander has yielded just one run over his last 38 innings and is second in the South Atlantic League with a 1.12 ERA. His 55 strikeouts are tied with Rome's Thomas Hanson for the league lead.

Ryan Reid pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his third save for the Catfish (27-13), who have won seven of their last eight games.

1B Matt Fields took over the team lead in RBIs (27) with his 2-run homer in the 2nd, and his RBI double in the 6th.

The 4-game series continues tonight in Savannah.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This Bites

Sometimes, things go horribly wrong.

Take my eating a caramel. Normally, that would be a fun experience.

Unless the caramel pulls a crown lose.

And that's what happened to me.

Now, I've got to get me an appointment with a dentist and get this thing fixed. I'm not sure if I'm going to the dentist that put this thing in to start with, or if I'm going to go to a different one. I wasn't exactly all that thrilled with the last dentist, and that's part of why I'm overdue for a dental checkup.

But now, I've got a real good reason to go to the dentist. Or a real bad reason. But a reason, nonetheless.

The Wife will be happy that I'm going to the dentist. Trying to get me to go has been ... wait for it ... like pulling teeth.


I've never been a big fan of Jerry Falwell. Neither have I been a big fan of his critics.

He professed his Christianity. He led many to Christ. That's a good thing. I dare say that even most of those who don't believe in Christ ... or in the divinity of Christ ... would agree that following Christ's teachings would make the world a better place.

Jerry Falwell was also a polarizing force. But most of those who objected to what he said objected because they were the targets of his statements. Like the old saying, it's the struck pig that squeals.

Still, I wasn't a big fan of Jerry Falwell. But then, I'm not a fan of a lot of TV preachers.

Was he a political force? So I'm told. He never inspired me. I wonder if he's was nothing more than the conservative Christian's Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton: a media creation.

Many Blacks have said that they don't know how Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton came to be seen as a spokesman for them. Likewise, I have no idea how Jerry Falwell came to be seen as a spokesman for conservative Christians. I sure didn't vote for him.

Still, Jerry Falwell did some good. But he sure had his critics.

However, I am amazed how many who don't believe in God want to believe that Falwell's in Hell.

No Sweep For Catfish

Everything was in line for a Columbus Catfish sweep of the Rome Braves Tuesday night. They'd beaten Rome in 10 of 11 games this season, and they had the lead after 8 innings, and the team save leader coming in to pitch the 9th inning.

The only thing missing was the cooperation of the team from Rome.

Three straight singles tied the game, and a 1-out single gave Rome the lead ... and the 4-3 win over the Catfish.
Columbus starter Jeremy Hellickson allowed one hit over five innings, striking out a season-high 10. Neal Frontz (1-4) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits but striking out the side in one inning.

Nevin Ashley hit an RBI triple in the sixth and Ryan Royster belted a solo shot, his sixth, in the eighth for the Catfish (26-13).

The loss snapped the Catfish 6-game winning streak, and leaves them 2-1/2 games behind division-leading Asheville.

The Catfish are on the road in Savannah for 4 games, before returning home for an 8-game home stand starting Monday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Catfish Beat Rome Again

The Columbus Catfish won in their last at-bat again Monday night. A 2-run single by DH Matt Spring plated the tying and go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th inning, as the Catfish beat the Rome Braves 6-5. It was the 6th time this season that the Catfish beat Rome in their last at-bat.

Rome scored a run in the 4th, and the Catfish responded in the bottom of the inning. CF John Matulia singled, then 3B Cesar Suarez hit a ground ball to the first baseman, who tried to turn a double play. Matulia beat the throw to second, then the shortstop threw wild back to first. Matulia made it to third on the throw. After C Nevin Ashley walked, LF Ryan Royster drove in Matulia on a sacrifice fly to center field, tying the game at 1. When DH Matt Spring singled, Suarez tried to score from second, but was thrown out at the plate.

P Woods Fines ran into trouble in the 5th. A walk, a single, and 3 doubles scored 3 runs for Rome before Wilton Noel came in to relieve Fines. A ground-out to short scored another run before the Catfish got out of the inning, trailing 5-1.

Things began to look better in the bottom of the 5th. 2B Joey Callender doubled to lead the inning. With 1 out, LF Maiko Loyola walked, then Matulia singled to lead the bases. Suarez hit what should have been a single to right, but the ball took an odd hop, and Suarez had a 3-run triple. When the throw from right to third went wide, Suarez tried to score, but was thrown out at home. Still, the Catfish had narrowed the score to 5-4.

Noel was masterful in keeping Rome off the scoreboard. He allowed a 1-out single in the 6th, and a batter reached on an error in the 8th. And that set the stage for the Catfish win.

With 1 out, Suarez walked, then Ashley singled. Both took an extra base when the center fielder missed the cutoff man on the throw back to the infield. After Royster was intentionally walked, Rome changed pitchers. That's when Spring hit his 2-run single right, putting the Catfish up 6-5.

Neal Frontz pitched a perfect 9th to pick up his 5th save.

Callendar, Spring, and Matulia each had 2 hits for the Catfish.

The win was the Catfish 6th in a row, the current longest streak in the South Atlantic League. It was also their 11th win in their last 12 games. It's also the 10th time in 11 games the Catfish have beaten Rome. Tuesday's game gives the Catfish the chance to sweep Rome for the second time this season.

With the win, the Catfish are a game and a half out of first place. And, for the first time this season, Augusta isn't in first place. Their loss to Greenville, coupled with Asheville's win over Charleston, puts the Tourists (Rockies) in first place in the division. The Catfish and Asheville don't play again in the first half.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chewing Gum

I've always liked chewing gum. The noun and the action.

When I was young, my favorite was Wrigley's Spearmint gum. I'm not sure why. But it was may favorite.

When the four of us -- my three sisters and me -- went to our grandparents' house, there was chewing gum there.

Now, I'm talking about our mother's parents. Grandma and Papa. They had chewing gum on the cabinet in the dining room.

They always had Juicy Fruit ... in the yellow wrapper. They usually had Double Mint ... in the green wrapper. And often had Wrigley's Spearmint ... in the white wrapper.

And I don't know why the Spearmint was my favorite. Juicy Fruit always tasted better. But, just to be different, I guess, I always preferred Wrigley's Spearmint gum.

One of the grown-ups would usually get the gum for us ... and often tore it in half. We'd get half a piece of gum. Probably so we wouldn't choke on it. But more likely, so there'd only be half as much to get out of our hair.

Now, as you can see by the picture of me on this little blog, I didn't have a lot of hair when I was younger. It was fourth grade before my hair grew out at all. So I didn't get a lot of gum in my hair.

But those sisters of mine. They'd get gum in their hair.

One of the grown-ups would have to get some ice, and try to freeze it ... so they could take a butter knife and try to scrape it out. Then they'd end up cutting it out. But they did the whole routine anyway.

I liked bubble gum. Still do. But I don't do as much bubble gum as I used to.

I think maybe because of a fellow I used to work with at the radio station.

This guy used to smoke cigars. And, at the radio station -- particularly at small-town radio -- everybody was on the air. Perhaps not a live air shift, but cutting commercials or recording interviews or something.

Anway, this fellow would leave half-smoked cigars with the mouth end all mashed and chewed, dripping and leaving stains and burns wherever he put and forget them.

But he finally quit smoking cigars. But picked up a bubble gum habit.

No, he didn't leave his bubble gum lying around. Just as he used to take the cigar out of his mouth to record something, he'd take the bubble gum out of his mouth to record something.

And he was too cheap to spit the gum into the trash and get a new piece.

No, he'd take the gum, hold it in his teeth, then bring the back of his hand to his mouth, and deposit the gum there.

He'd record what he needed to record, with his hands operating the control board or holding the copy he was reading, with the gum on the back of one of his hands. Then, when he was done, would bring the back of his hand back to his mouth, bite the gum, and he'd go on chewing the bubble gum.

It wasn't pleasant to watch.

It was more unpleasant when I noticed the bald spot on the back of his hand.

That's around the time I quit chewing bubble gum so much.

I still chew gum. My current favorite is Eclipse Polar Ice.

The reason I like it is partly because it's hard coated gum in those bubble packs. 12 pieces where you slide the insert out, pop out a piece (or two; I usually get just one), and slide it back, then deposit it in your pocket.

The hard coated gum lasts better in a pocket, shirt or pants.

The old Wrigley's Spearmint will become troublesome by the end of the day. After sitting in my pocket all day, it's nearly impossible to get the foil wrapper off the gum. I always end up either removing gum with the wrapper, ending up with less than a full piece of gum ... or I don't get all the wrapper off. The paper part, that is. The foil, I make sure I remove, what with having metal fillings and all.

So, rather than lose gum or chewing wrappers ... I instead chew hard coated gum. Like the Eclipse Polar Ice flavor.

The Wife hates the Polar Ice gum. She says it tastes like Ty-D-Bol®. No, I haven't asked her how she knows what Ty-D-Bol® tastes like.

But still, I like the Eclipse Polar Ice.

Or I did.

And the reason is what brought on this little reminiscence about chewing gum.

I found my driver's license. I lost it weekend before last.

What seems to have happened is that I showed the guard at Ft. Benning my driver's license as ID to get on post on Friday, the 3rd. When he handed it back to me, I must have dropped it in my shirt pocket. And into the pack of gum, underneath the bubble pack.

I say underneath, because Saturday night, in Montgomery, when I discoverd my license missing, I had that pack of gum with me. I chewed a piece. And offered a piece to Bean, who accepted. I even mentioned to her what the Wife thought of that flavor of gum.

But, the driver's license stayed in place, hiding from view.

Saturday night, after I got back home from the game, I put the gum and everything else in my pocket in the usual place. And didn't touch the gum again until today. I brought it with me to work.

This morning, I decided to get a piece of gum. That's when my driver's license fell out.

Now, I'm thinking I'm going to quit with the Eclipse Polar Ice.

I think I'm going back to Juicy Fruit. It's good for ya soul.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

How Long?

The Wife asked me a question yesterday afternoon that I had never thought about.

But it may need a little background first. And setup.

Back in December -- five months ago to the day, in fact -- our oldest granddaughter lost her grandmother. One of them, anyway. Her father's mother.

Now, the little girl thought the world of her "Granny." And she of the granddaughter.

Yesterday -- five months to the day after her passing -- there was a big Mother's Day cookout over at the granddaughter's house.

Following a death in the family, there's always going to be all the "firsts." You know, first Christmas since she died. First birthday since she died. First Valentine's Day since she died. First this, first that. All those dates and events that happen within the first year following a death.

Yesterday was the first Mother's Day since the little girl's Granny died.

Still, the little girl's father -- the son of the woman who died in December -- invited his father to the cookout. It was the first Mother's Day since "Granny" had died.

The widower came.

And brought his new girlfriend. And her son.

There were some uncomfortable moments there. I wasn't there for all of them. But I was there for some of them. The silences. The looks.

It's human nature. I'm not criticizing those that thought that perhaps it was "a little too soon."

But, neither am I going to criticize the recent widower for "not waiting long enough."

I don't know how long "long enough" is. I don't know when it's no longer "too soon."

And if I did, so what? It's not my life. It's his. He doesn't need my approval. And he shouldn't care if I approve or don't.

There are people that wait years and years and years. There are some situations where folks wonder how long someone will take to get over a death. He's obviously not one of those people.

Still, all in all, it's up to him how long is "long enough." It's not a question for me.

Or it wasn't.

You see, that's the setup.

The Wife asked me how long I'd wait after ... and her voice trailed off.

I made a joke. One in really bad taste. And one I can't really tell here. Oh, you'd get it. But to get the full effect, it'd take a really long setup. And I'm not going to spend the time setting it up.

The point is, I didn't answer the question. I deflected it with a joke.

I've never thought about how long I'd wait if ...

Because I don't want to think about it.

Catfish Win In Eleven

Columbus Catfish logoIt was an unearned run in the bottom of the 11th, but it counted nonetheless. LF Ryan Royster's run gave the Columbus Catfish a 4-3 win over the Rome Braves on Sunday afternoon.
With one out in the 11th, Royster singled to center field. Quinn Stewart followed with a double and Royster came home with the winning run when left fielder Concepcion Rodriguez couldn't play the ball cleanly.

Maiko Loyola went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored, while Cesar Suarez went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to pace the Catfish (25-12), who have won five straight.

Ryan Reid (3-1) gave up one hit and struck out four in three innings of scoreless relief. Starter Ryan Morse allowed three runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts for Columbus.

The Catfish have now won 5 in a row, and 10 of 11. The home series with Rome continues Monday.

Catfish Stay Hot

Columbus Catfish logoThe hottest team in the South Atlantic League stayed hot last night. The Columbus Catfish, winners of 4 in a row, 9 of 10, and 16 of 20, beat the Rome Braves 5-3 last night. C Nevin Ashley hit his first home run of the season to lead the Catfish attack.
Ashley's shot leading off the eighth inning keyed a two-run rally that gave the Catfish (24-12) a 5-2 lead. A squeeze bunt by Craig Albernaz brought home the inning's other run.

The Catfish, who have won four straight, took a 2-0 lead in the first on Ashley's RBI double to right. He came home on shortstop Chad Lundahl's throwing error.

The Braves (10-25) knotted the game in the second on Chase Fontaine's first homer of the year, a two-run shot.

Matthew Fields singled home Ryan Royster in the fourth with the eventual winning run.

The Catfish have beaten Rome in 8 of 9 meetings this season. The 4-game home stand continues this afternoon.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

So You're From Africa?

I know I promised no more hospital stories.

I lied.

Well, I didn't mean to. But I remembered this one.

When I was in the hospital earlier this week (dehydration from a stomach virus), I was in a semi-private room.

Which means I had a roommate.

Now, they moved me to a room a little after 2:00 AM. The reason? There were no rooms available until then. The room came open at 2:00 AM. Or that's what they said.

It was much later before I thought about why a room would come open at 2:00 AM. I can think of two reasons.

  1. The patient was discharged.

  2. The patient was moved to another (private, ICU/CCU, morgue).

I didn't ask which it was.

Anyway, there was an older fellow (yes, older than me) in the room they put me in.

He was a conversationalist.

He spoke to the drapes, mostly. I base that on the fact that I could see his reflection in the TV. Not clearly, but I could see well enough (most of the time) to tell that he was looking at the drapes when he was talking.

He did answer most of the questions that the doctor, nurses, and attendants asked me.

The next morning, he got some personal attention. They fed him (I was still not being fed; stomach thing and all) and he asked "whatever happened to that big ol' boy y'all brought in last night?"

He went on to tell the attendants that he "didn't get any sleep last night ... because of the noise."

I can only assume he meant my snoring.

After breakfast, his wife came in. I assume it was his wife. Seemed like a nice lady. She only spoke ... let me remember ... oh, yeah ... zero words to me.

But she was there most of the day for him.

I left late in the day. Suppertime. She had gone over the supper menu two, three, twelve times with him. He seemed to want the lemon pie, but not much else.

But right at suppertime, they were releasing me.

That's when the chaplain came by.

He was ... well, I guess the best description would be ... an exchange chaplain. His name was Moses and he said he was from Africa.

We chatted a minute, and I thanked him for coming by. He was a nice, pleasant man.

Then he visited my "roommate." And Mrs. Roommate.

When they heard he was from Africa, they were all amazed and excited.

Mrs. Roommate had a question. After confirming that he indeed said he was from Africa, she mentioned "that's where Oprah's school is." She asked him, "You ever been there?"

The chaplain hesitated.

Mrs. Roommate confirmed with her husband that, indeed, Oprah's school was in Africa. And she told the chaplain that, yes, that's where Oprah's school was. Had he ever been to it?

The chaplain explained that Africa was a large place, a whole continent.

Mrs. Roommate said, well, yes, Africa "must be a pretty big country."

The chaplain agreed.

That's when my roommate got some more visitors.

Mrs. Roommate introduced the visitors to the chaplain, adding that "he's from Africa!"

Mrs. Visitor was amazed. "That's where [Brother Charlie] went on a mission trip."

To the chaplain: "Did you ever meet him?"

The chaplain asked, "Where was this?"

Mrs. Visitor reiterated, "He went to Africa. I was wonderin' if you'd met him."

The chaplain then changed his story slightly. He was now from Nigeria.

He continued his visit, talking about how much he enjoyed being in the U.S. but was looking forward to going back to Nigeria.

I can understand why.

Catfish Win Third Straight

Columbus Catfish logoThe Columbus Catfish seem to have figured out the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants). They beat the division leaders Friday night for the 3rd time in a row, and for the 5th time in 8 meetings this season.

Catfish P Heath Rollins pitched 8 innings and picked up his as they beat Augusta, 7-1.
The 21-year-old right-hander got into a groove in the middle innings, retiring 16 consecutive batters at one point. Rollins stayed focused on working quickly, using mostly his fastball and slider to carve through the GreenJackets. He also wanted to stay efficient to help the Catfish offense.

The Catfish open a short 4-game series with Rome tonight. They beaten Rome in 7 of 8 meetings so far this season.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nuthin' But A Number

There are a few things I missed in life that many others have experienced ... and think nothing of.

Selective Service, for instance.

Back when I was approaching 18, the U.S. still had a draft. Actually, they stopped drafting around 1973, but kept registration for the draft as a requirement.

In 1975, President Ford signed Proclamation 4360, which "(terminated) the ... procedures for registration under the Military Selective Service Act."

Which means that I didn't have to register for the draft when I turned 18 the next year.

Then, when Jimmy Carter was stinking up the White House, Selective Service registration was reinstated. Proclamation 4771 made registration cumpulsory for "Male citizens of the United States and other males residing in the United States ... who were born on or after January 1, 1960, and who have attained their eighteenth birthday."

Since I was born before January 1, 1960, I didn't have to register.

So, I didn't.

I was one of the "bubble babies." Born between March 29, 1957, and December 31, 1959, I was exempt from Selective Service registration.

Now, years later, I did join the Army. I mean, they was hiring, right?

So, one day, a bunch of young soldiers (and me) were sitting around, talking about Selective Service. It came up because one of the fellows in the company had received a draft notice. From France. Or somewhere like that.

Seems he was born there to U.S. parents. And they wrote his name down. And, when he turned 18 (or whatever the age for compulsary service in that country was), sent him a letter saying "come serve with us."

They got it all worked out, eventually. I think.

But, it was the impetus for discussion of the Selective Service. And telling of the Urban Legend (but it's true!) about the fake kid who got a notice because of an ice cream parlor's mailing list.

I had no stories of my own to tell. Other than the fact that I had never registered for Selective Service.

In fact, I was the only person in the company who hadn't registered. All those younger than me had. And all those older than me (senior enlisted) had. I was the only one in the "bubble."

I was the only one in that unit that, had we not enlisted, and had the government suddenly reinstated the draft ... and drafted everybody in the country ... of the ones in that unit, would not have had to show up.

Still, for a bit, some of the young soldiers thought that I had dodged the draft or something.

Who Washed All The Homeless People?

Driving in downtown Columbus this morning, I noticed something odd.

The homeless seem to have had a bath.

Now, let me first say that I don't normally drive in Columbus after 9:00 AM. Or not in all areas.

I work in the downtown area, as does the Wife, but our travels are usually limited to a few blocks, if that.

This morning, though, leaving the doctor's office, I was in the downtown area on a few blocks I don't normally visit. Not bad areas of town, no. But areas I don't normally visit during that time of day. After work, sure. But not during work hours.

But, today, I was sitting at a light, when a fellow crossed the street.

He was clean (like Paul's grandfather), as were his clothes. But he had "that look."

Sure, perhaps I'm stereotyping.

But he was talking to himself (or perhaps to the voices in his head), and he was pulling a microwave oven box.

Now, I'm not sure about you, but when I see a fellow walking across the street, pulling a cardbox box that once housed a microwave oven, and he's carrying on a converstation with no one, I'm thinking "homeless."

But he was clean. As were his clothes. Though his clothes didn't match. Not much goes with bright red socks, after all.

I thought it odd.

After I made my turn, I saw another person that fit pretty much the same description. Just no microwave oven box.

And then another.

It looks like someone washed all the homeless people. Or at least the ones I happened across.

Maybe it was release day at the jail.

But, they were near the little shopping center that has a gas station, a Subway, and a Taco Bell (across from a McDonald's) where the homeless will hang around.

Maybe the gas station just got the car wash fixed.

I'll be pondering this one a while.

Guess Who Caught My Bug?

One last (I promise!) post about my little bout with a stomach virus.

I had my follow-up doctor's appointment this morning. Everything's fine.

For me.

And, now, for the doc.

The doctor that saw me in the ER on Monday night ... caught my virus.

At least, he missed a day of work this week (very unusual for him) because of the same symptoms that I had.

No word on if any other patients he's treated have suffered any ill effects. Hmmmm.

Still, next time, when I tell him I'm sick, he'll be listening very carefully, I'm sure.